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Everything posted by mlshum

  1. I remember when it was called "The Morning Show" and I figured it was the same but since I'd never been to either I wasn't positive. Thanks for the info!
  2. We gathered up our snorkel gear and headed back out to meet our excursion. We were meeting at the shelters right outside the ship. They were clearly marked with numbers. Everything was well organized. Today we were snorkeling with Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas company. We were planning a two-reef snorkel. This was the meeting point for our excursion. Waiting to get started I know a lot of people don’t like ship excursions and we have done both ship excursions and private excursions but if an interesting ship excursion is available, I will often choose that simply because there is a guarantee that we won’t be left should we be late. More than once our tours were late getting back and had we not been on a ship tour during those times it would have been too late. I like that guarantee. It’s worth the peace of mind for me. While I may WATCH pier runners, I don’t want to BE a pier runner. We were checked in by Kenja. She was very well organized and so friendly! She gave us some paperwork to fill out. We did our paperwork and sat down to wait. We only waited about five minutes before we were ready to board our boat and be on our way. Kenja led the way, and we started the short walk to our boat. There were about 15 people in our group. As we were walking along, Ron noticed a pair of sunglasses that had been left behind by a couple of ladies on our tour. He immediately stopped them and gave them the glasses. Their names were Hannah and Lucia from St. Louis, and they were on their second cruise. They were very nice, and we really enjoyed talking with them during our entire excursion. We would later see them around the ship and even in the water at Princess Cay. It’s always nice to make friends on a cruise. Hey, Lucia! As we headed out to our snorkel site Kenja narrated and introduced us to the crew. The captain was Captain Wendell and the other instructor was Shauno. They were all so nice. I can’t say enough good things about this experience. After Kenja gave a safety briefing, she handed out gear. We had brought our own snorkels and masks. Ron elected to use flippers and I decided not to. He loves flippers but I’ve never quite gotten the hang of it yet. I do plan to try to learn to use them a little better at the next opportunity because I think it makes a person faster in the water. Kenja gives us instructions Shauno was just singing along and living his best life The colors of the Caribbean are so beautiful! We're on our way! While Kenja was passing out gear Captain Wendell was playing music and Shauno was singing along. That boy can sing! Ron mentioned something about his great singing voice and that seemed to please him. They were just a happy bunch. I was sitting beside Captain Wendell, and we chatted during our trip to the first reef. He asked what we did professionally and when I told him we were appraisers he started telling me prices of things that were for sale or had sold recently. It is obvious I cannot afford a beachfront property! We were first taken to the Thunderball Reef. We were the only boat there. Captain Wendell said not only was it a good snorkel site but was somewhat protected by Rose Island, so the water wasn’t quite as choppy. At that point Kenja gave us a snorkel lesson. I’ve been on multiple snorkel excursions. It’s one of my favorite things to do in the Bahamas, but I think this is the first time I remember having actual instruction. I appreciated that! After instructions we all went down the ladder at the back of the boat. The water was a little cold, but we got used to it quickly. You sort of HAVE to get used to it quickly when you’ve jumped in and there’s no quick way to get back out! I tried to stay near Ron but, as usual, I quickly lost him. I always have trouble seeing him when we’re all in the water, but it was fine. I knew I’d catch up with him eventually. He’s much faster than me with his fins. (This is why I need to conquer using the fins!) I have a pair of strap on Croc sandals that are my “water shoes”. They dry really quickly, and I can wear them to the activity, during the activity and after the activity without changing shoes. Shauno thought that was the funniest thing that I was swimming in sandals and mentioned it to me several times. He’s such a sunny personality! Pictures can't do it justice Lots of the regular Caribbean fish The reef was gorgeous and colorful. There were so many fish, and some were really large. Sergeant majors are always the most dependable fish in the Caribbean, and I was caught for a minute in a whole school of them. They were everywhere! There were also other fish I’d seen many times before but didn’t know their names. Maybe you guys can help me out! What are the names of these fish shown above? I was hoping to see a turtle but, alas, not today. I was having a little difficulty with my mask fogging. When we started to the next site, I used some anti-fog spray and that seemed to help a little. Ron had the Go Pro with him. It was a Christmas present a few years ago and he has enjoyed it immensely. When we got back on the boat, he showed me a video that he’d shot of a large turtle!! What?!?! I didn’t see a turtle but apparently they were there! It was so exciting. He was able to snip some pictures for me to include here. Ron said he was just swimming along when he noticed movement. It was a turtle! It swam up and over the reef. Ron surfaced at one point and tried to find me but couldn't locate me. Just like that, the turtle was gone. I'm so sad I missed it! Everyone was back on the boat, and we headed to our second reef; the Three Sisters Reef. There was a beach with a large sandy area. I didn’t go on the beach but some of our group did. The waves were crashing against the rocks beside the beach. It was a little choppier than the last site, but really beautiful. The water clarity was better at the first reef but there were still a lot of fish to see on this reef as well. Ron continued to be lucky and saw a huge barracuda! He couldn’t get a good picture of it once he realized it was there. It was gone almost as quickly as he saw it. He said this was the best snorkeling excursion he’d taken, and I have to agree. It was well worth the $89.99 per person. I would do this one over and over again. Ron didn't get a good picture of the barracuda, but you can kind of make it out here. After about 30 minutes at our second reef it was time to get back on the boat and head back to the ship. It was about a 20-minute ride back to the ship and during the trip Kenja pointed out homes owned by various celebrities. She also told us about some of the filming that had been done in Nassau, particularly for the James Bond movies. Apparently, the owner of the dive company, Stuart Cove, was involved in the diving/filming for some of those movies. Heading back to our ship Back in the port area we were dropped off and we headed back to the ship. We were some of the last passengers back on board. I was tired and I was famished but it had been such a good day! We went to our room to shower and clean up for dinner. A dog was waiting for us As we started moving, I happened to glance out our porthole and saw the lighthouse perfectly framed. I grabbed my phone to take a quick picture. I love it! It was happy accident, and I may have it printed! I guess there are advantages to the porthole in spite of the noise. Here was the first attempt Then I got a little closer to get the framing right. I like this one! I'm going to stop here but will hopefully get back later to finish posting the Nassau day.
  3. That's awesome! We barely missed each other! I honestly don't remember it? The FunTimes mentions "The Wave" morning show so I'm guess that might be it? To be honest, I've never gone to "The Wave" before. I think I watched it on the big screen once a long time ago. Hope you had as good a sailing as we did. Was your cruise the one that missed Freeport due to the propulsion issues?
  4. I bet that scared you to death! The next port we visited after Nassau was Princess Cay so the anchor had to have been involved on that one. It was an interesting experience for sure!
  5. That makes sense! I never really thought about that before. It was definitely a noisy beast. Lol
  6. Nassau – May 1st I was abruptly awakened about 6am with a terrible clanging/banging noise. What is that???? Are we under attack? Are we being boarded by pirates? Do I need to evacuate? Suddenly it dawned on me. In our little porthole room, we live OVER THE ANCHOR! I'm sure the mooring lines are down there making a racket, too. I should have made that connection when booking the room, but it completely escaped me. I’m guessing those poor souls on Decks 4 and 5 had an even louder display of the prowess of the anchor than we did. I thought, “How long can it take to drop an anchor anyway?” Apparently, a long time! It went on all morning it seemed. There are also ropes and other things that have to happen and we had a front row seat for all of the racket. I willed myself to doze off for a little while longer but finally gave up and headed for the shower. We were going snorkeling at noon, but I wanted to explore the new port area before meeting our excursion. No time like the present! Up to Lido for breakfast. Like I said earlier, on the whole, the food on this ship has been some of the best yet. I’m impressed! By the time we finished breakfast and had gone back to our room to brush our teeth, the ship had been cleared and we were free to go ashore. The banging had stopped. All was well. It was about 8:30am. We went down to Deck 3 to the gangway and off the ship. We were docked between Carnival Liberty and Allure of the Seas. Elation looked tiny between them! I sent the picture to our cruise group and our friend Emory said it looked like a lifeboat beside Allure. He’s right! Off the ship and headed into Nassau Looking over into the new port area Liberty was also in port Little baby Elation beside huge Allure of the Seas Emory said she looks like a lifeboat next to Allure! I've been to Nassau multiple times, but this was our first visit since the new port was finished. The new port area is so nice! As you reach the end of the dock you can see the video wall. There is a very cool video of a shark that looks like it’s breaking out of the aquarium. It’s great! There were a couple of buildings right at the entrance that were not entirely finished on the interior. I opened the door to see what there was inside and basically NOTHING was inside, only equipment. I’ll be interested to see what else is happening in that building later. There’s also a Junkanoo Museum. It looks interesting but I thought the $11 per person to go inside was a little steep. We looked through the window but didn’t pay to do the tour. Here's the shark sequence. It makes a lot more sense when you see it moving... You see the shark...the shark sees you..... He bites the glass, and it starts to shatter... He's loose! Fortunately, there's a large amount of concrete between you and him so I like your chances The next section was lines of cute little vendor stalls. Most of these were open air but some were enclosed. We stopped in Greycliffe Chocolatiers. We had visited Graycliffe on West Hill St a couple of years ago and I keep meaning to do the chocolate making tour. Another activity for another day, I guess. Most of the flavors were very weird and didn’t appeal to me at all. Dill pickle chocolate? No thank you! I’ll just admire how pretty they are and move along! Vendor stalls and stores Here's a place for Aaron to get his next conch fritters (he was on a mission to find some in the Sunrise Story.) They were setting up for some event, but I don't know what I love collecting local art. We stopped in one stall with paintings done by a local artist. There were a lot of choices, but I finally settled on a small picture for $16.50. Well worth it! We wandered in and out of several shops and window shopped at all of them. There were stalls with typical touristy items and t-shirts and boutique stores with expensive resort type clothing. We found a magnet we liked and bought that. That was pretty much the extent of our purchases. Near the center of the port area is a gelato shop. There were probably about 30 flavors and although it was only around 10:00 am, I had to try the gelato. We got two small cups. It wasn’t cheap but it was worth it! Ron got strawberry shortcake and I had Nutella. Delicious! Gelato shop The doors were open and there were a few places to sit Strawberry shortcake and Nutella! We wandered a bit more and found the Love Swing was empty. It's pretty much just a photo op, albeit a fun one. Another couple wandered by about that time, and we traded photography duties. (Probably a little closer would have made for a better picture. Oh well!) We weren’t quite ready to go back to the ship, so we wandered over to the Parliament building. We’ve been there several times, but I enjoy visiting that part of town. I think it’s so interesting that the building colors have specific meanings. If I recall from a previous tour pink is for government buildings and yellow is for medical buildings. Maybe green for education? I don’t remember any of the others. Since it was still pretty early, and we’d seen everything we wanted to see AND our excursion wasn’t leaving until noon AND it wouldn’t be back until 3pm AND we’d be hungry by that time we opted for a quick snack back on board. Neither of us was really hungry and it was only 11:00 Ron suggested that we half a ham and cheese sandwich from the deli. That seemed like a good idea to me. He got our sandwich and, although neither of us finished what we had, we had at least eaten something and that should hold us over until dinner. Time for me to get to work but I'll be back later to post more.
  7. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your reading along and kind words. I guess it really could be the implant? I didn’t really think it was large enough to register on the metal detector.
  8. I just realized I forgot the FunTimes for the Sea Day! Maybe someday I will get it figured out.....
  9. After playing trivia for a while we went to the Fun Aboard/Fun Ashore show. I had gone once before and enjoyed it. This was OK. I had forgotten how much time it took! I don’t know if I’ll go on future sailings, but I didn’t have any other plans, so it was as good a way as any to pass the time. Gabe, our cruise director. I think I understood him to say that Elation was his first cruise director job. He was previously a member of the Fun Squad on Mardi Gras. As we were leaving the show, I found a little green dragon duck. My first duck find of the cruise. I also hid a duck each day. These are the ducks that I brought to hide. We opted to go back to our room, drop off our winnings and get our Kindles. When we got to the room, Gede, the Invisible Man, had already been there. He left our first towel animal. A bear maybe? Not really sure what it is to be honest! You be the judge! We took our Kindles and headed up to find a deck chair. It was very windy. I would later learn that the wind was steadily blowing at 47 miles per hour. We found a partially sheltered area and settled in. It was kind of cold and I was glad I had brought my jacket. Even though it was cold there were, of course, a number of children in the pool. When we went by, they were all splashing around having a great time. When we came by later, they were all sitting out on the edge of the pool, wet and shivering, and looking despondent as the pool was being drained. I heard later that one of them had thrown up. The pool was completely drained and cleaned. It would be several hours before they were able to swim again. After reading for a while and being buffeted by the wind, it was a little after 12:00 so we decided to go to Blue Iguana for some tacos. We each got a chicken and a pork taco. They had lemon meringue cake, which is one of my favorites, and Ron opted for the strawberry shortcake. Very satisfactory lunch! It was time for a nap! Isn’t that afternoon nap on the ship an awesome thing?!?! No one is calling me, no emails coming in, no reports that need to be finished, no house pictures to take….just a comfy bed and getting rocked to sleep with absolutely no time frame or alarm. It was glorious. After waking up we decided to try to whole “read the Kindle on deck” thing again. It was still windy but not quite as bad as before. We passed a relaxing couple of hours. This was elegant night. We got ready and went to dinner right at six. Gusti and Sadia were very quick again. We walked in, sat down and Sadia was immediately there with water and bread. This menu is probably my favorite of the week. I really enjoy the spinach salad and prime rib. Ron had some kind of spring roll and also the prime rib. We both had butter pecan ice cream for dessert. It was all exceptionally good, and we were again finished with dinner in about an hour. We managed to sneak out before “showtime”. We didn't buy any photos on this sailing because we already have quite a few. We did clean up a little. LOL We enjoy watching Parodeejay vlogs. We tend to watch pretty much every video series of all their sailings. They always do a segment called "sock of the day" when Jay wears unusual socks. Liz always buys Ron funny or interesting socks for Father's Day and other holidays. It's kind of their "thing". This is his favorite pair so here's his "sock of the day" photo. After dinner we headed to the Mikado theatre to watch Heart of Soul. I’m not sure if we’d seen this one or not. I feel like we had but I’m not sure. It was a good show, pretty standard Playlist fare. No complaints from me. After that we went to see the second comedian, Larry Omaha. We didn’t have to stand in line for quite as long and sat more toward the back of the room. He was marginally better than the first guy but not much. We left a little early. I was glad I went but didn’t go back for the rest of the cruise. After we left Limelight, we went to Duke’s piano bar. The entertainer was Chris Wood. This guy was GOOD! I mean REALLY good. In most cases the piano bar entertainers are either really good pianists or really good vocalists. Chris was BOTH an excellent pianist and a fantastic vocalist. We returned to the piano bar a couple of night during the cruise. He did an all-request sing along type show which is my favorite kind. Duke's Piano Bar It had sort of a NY theme going, including a huge Statue of Liberty head. I really want to sail from New York at some point to sail by the Statue of Liberty. After we finished up at the piano bar we wandered up on deck for a bit. You could see three different cruise ships off in the distance. The pool was filled again. The wind had calmed down. The temperature was slightly warmer, and all was well with the world. We headed to bed. Tomorrow would be our first port day in Nassau. This is a really terrible picture but the two oblong lights in the distance are two of the cruise ships. Sorry about the photo quality!
  10. Sea Day – Tuesday April 30th We planned to sleep in on our first sea day and I made it to 8:30. Ron was already up, of course, because he’s a VERY early riser. To be honest, 8:30 is about as late as I can usually do. So, by our definition at least, we slept in. There were a couple of things we wanted to do but the first was the Sea Day Brunch. Neither of us are big breakfast eaters. Although this Sea Day Brunch menu has been around for a while, we had never tried it. We decided to change that this morning. We were up and ready for breakfast. We checked in on the app and our table was ready almost immediately. We headed to the dining room and were given a table for two. Nice! We both ordered the 12 Hour French Toast. I also ordered a side of extra crispy bacon. Bacon is seldom crispy enough for me. I want it CRISPY…most people would say burned. I want it to stand up on its own and never bend. Floppy bacon just won’t work for me! They have to make it the way most people like it on Lido, which is at least somewhat bendable, so I was hoping for some REALLY crispy bacon today. Alas, that would not be the case. It was crispy by most standards, I guess. It was still good and I ate it but I would have been perfectly happy if it were even crispier. Then came the French toast. I knew from seeing photos on Cruise Critic that the 12 hour French toast was thick but I didn’t realize it was something like half a loaf of bread. It was HUGE! Monstrous! It could have had its own zip code it was so big. I decided to keep an open mind and try it. It was OK….not great, but OK. I guess Sea Day Brunch is wasted on me. For the rest of the cruise we went back to Lido for breakfast where I could get my croissant, maybe some cheese, a sausage link….whatever. Breakfast isn’t my favorite meal by far. I’ll get by with the quicker, easier option on Lido! After breakfast was finished it was time for our first trivia game of the cruise. We have a whole fleet of solid gold plastic ships on a stick and I was hoping for one on this cruise as well. It’s a silly little thing but they make me smile and always spark a fun conversation when people visit our house and see them all. Ron is usually the one who wins the trivia rounds. I’ve managed it a couple of times but he’s generally the “gunner”. We have our Diet Pepsi and we're ready for serious business. It begins... The first trivia game was General Knowledge. It was pretty much a mix up bunch of random facts. Ron tied for first and won in a tiebreaker question. You go, Dear! Good job!! The collection is secure for another cruise! We stuck around and played Fact or Fiction trivia next. We didn’t win any other trivia games on this sailing, but we played several and were very happy to have our ship on a stick.
  11. After dinner we decided to wander around a little bit while the food settled before we headed to the comedy club for the first evening performance. We stopped in the Fun Shop for a few minutes. I think I remember someone on Cruise Critic who was looking for the ship ornaments and couldn’t find them on their last sailing. They DID have ship specific ornaments but did NOT have the ship specific magnets other than bottle openers. It’s been a couple of sailings since I’ve found any ship magnets. I wonder what’s up with that? We didn’t buy anything and decided to head on over to get in line. The comedy clubs can get pretty crowded. The Duo Bros were playing in the Atrium Lobby One aside, it always surprises me when I am on a cruise and meet people that I know, or we have some mutual friend or other connection. While we were browsing around in the Fun Shop Ron noticed two young ladies who were wearing a West Virginia University logo shirt. He struck up a conversation with them. It turns out that they lived about 30 minutes from my mom, and both worked with another lady who had graduated high school with Ron. Small world! The show was scheduled to begin at 9:15. It was around 8:45 when we got in line and there was already a huge line stretching from the door of Limelight back into the Alchemy Bar area, looping around and going down the Promenade (Deck 9). We were near the point where the line curved back down Promenade in the Alchemy area and we would stay there until after 9pm. When the doors finally opened, it turned out that there was plenty of room for everyone. That surprised me. The line had looked way longer than that! The door to the comedy club is on the right in this picture. The line started at the door, went all the way down to that back wall in the Alchemy Bar area, wrapped around and back down the Promenade. It seemed really long to me! The comedian’s name was Mark Hawkins. He was very “meh”. It was OK but nothing special or memorable. I planned to check out the other comedian sometime during the cruise, but I wasn’t going to bother going to see this one again. He moved just as I snapped the picture. There was plenty of room inside. About midway through the show a number of people left. After the show we went back up on deck for a Diet Pepsi. We definitely get the use out of our soda packages! To be honest, I didn’t really care about the Diet Pepsi itself at that point. I simply wanted the plastic cup it came in. Why, you may ask? Here’s what happened from earlier! When Gede introduced himself and we asked him for the small glasses that are normally in the bathroom for brushing teeth, he had absolutely no idea what we meant. We tried to explain it, but we just weren’t connecting somehow. He promised to try to find “something like that” but he didn’t seem to be very confident that it would happen. We decided to just get some on our own. When we saw him later that night on the way back to our room, he seemed relieved that we’d found what we needed. By that time, it was around 11pm. We were tired. Time to turn in for the evening.
  12. It’s great that you live close enough to the port to go often. We live about 6 hours from Norfolk but we’ve only sailed from there once, strangely enough. I’ve done a couple of the speciality restaurants but haven’t yet been to the steakhouse. Next year is our 40th anniversary Alaska cruise and we’re definitely going to the steakhouse on that one. Thanks so much for reading along!
  13. Thank you! I’m trying to get the hang of this to the level that you have perfected it! Enjoying your review and prayers for a success surgery for Patti.
  14. We sailed under that bridge last week! Thanks so much for the pic of the “top” side!
  15. Thank you! I figured that was the case but didn’t know for sure. I appreciate you!
  16. Looking forward to reading along! I definitely want to do the ABC islands!
  17. Aww…thank you so much for reading along. What an awesome story! This was my first trip on Elation. Were the peacocks always there on Lido or were those added at a later date? For some reason, I like those!
  18. Thanks so much for coming back and for reading along again! Yes, the Celebration cruise was a bit of an "experience" for sure! LOL I still enjoyed it but I, too, was glad to have a chance to sail and NOT be sick at the same time!
  19. Sail away was scheduled for 3:30. As of 3:00, they were still making announcements for people to come and do their muster drill. At 3:15..still calling for people. 3:30.....STILL calling for people! The bars and everything shut down at that point in an effort to get those stragglers to go do their muster drill! Come on, already! Is this so difficult?!?! Now this is something I simply cannot understand and my own personal pet peeve. We all KNOW that EVERYONE is required to do the muster drill before we can sail. It takes like 5 minutes, for crying out loud! I much prefer the new muster process to the old way when we all had to go stand in a crush of people on a hot deck. Please, please just go do your muster drill! Why is this so hard!?!?! They kept calling for people to come to do the drill and finally, a little before 4:00pm, we were ready to sail. The harbor pilot was circling beside us. He was growing tired of waiting, too. Finally, the lines were cast off and we were ready to go! I didn’t realize that we were standing right in front of the ships’ horn until they sounded the alarm signal. LOL It was deafening! I knew better than that!! I will not forget that again! We edged away from the dock and headed toward the bridge. Sailing under a bridge is always interesting. It always looks like something is going to stick up too far and not make it under. We, of course, sailed under without incident and were on our way. I think Carnival will always have to have a few smaller ships simply so they can fit under the bridges. No way Excel or Vista class is fitting in that space! Here's the bridge in the distance Almost there.... here's our "proof of life" picture in case we don't make it. And just like that, the bridge was behind us. We were underway! After being out on deck for a while, we went back down to our room to rest a bit. Our luggage had been delivered by that time, so we unpacked and changed for dinner. On a couple of sailings prior to ours Elation was suffering with propulsion issues. I checked the TV and we were sailing along at 12.7 knots, so I guess the issues were fixed. According to our Facebook group, the prior two sailings never broke 10 knots. The sea depth was only 33 ft at that point. Seems very shallow! Right before dinner it would be 79 ft and I saw 85 ft after dinner. Getting better! Over the week I would glance at the sea depth multiple times. The deepest I saw was 12,240 ft and the shallowest was the 33 ft. We headed to the Inspiration dining room. We had stopped by earlier in the day and asked for a table for two. Ann took our request and was happy to help us. We didn’t really expect the change would happen on this first day but within a couple of hours the app reflected our new table number and we sat there for the entire week. Our servers for the week would be Gusti and Sadia. I can’t say enough about how awesome they were! Ann came to check on us to see if we were happy with our table. We were tucked away in a little corner. It was perfect! I don't ever remember someone coming to check to see if we liked our table assignment and we have asked for a two-person table on every sailing except those with our friends. One thing we quickly learned about Elation was that they certainly had their act together! We both ordered the paradelle for an appetizer. I had the Cornish game hen as an entrée and the melting cake for dessert. Ron had steak and cheesecake. The service was super-fast, probably the best we’ve ever had. The food on Elation is the best we’ve had in multiple cruises including our Thanksgiving sailing on Celebration. They may be small and old but they’re doing a great job! The menu was the same, but the quality was way better. Way to go, Elation! During dinner Ramesh, the maître d, came by and asked about dinner. He would continue to do this every night. He took time to speak to basically everyone in the dining room over the next couple of nights. We told him how impressed we were with the food and service and that it was much better than on Celebration a few months ago. He grinned and said, “Maybe older is better”! I'll be back later!
  20. (I hope to get the rest of Embarkation up throughout the day today.) After we finished eating, we took a stroll around decks 9, 8 and 7 which compromised the rest of the “commercial” areas. Ron and I are real estate appraisers. I do strictly residential appraisals and he does both residential and commercial. We have always separated decks into “residential” and “commercial” without really meaning to do so. Job hazard, I guess! LOL Library....we meant to come in here and play cards later in the cruise, but it was quite often in use for private functions. We walked by one day while a wedding was being performed. Promenade Java Blue Java Blue Java Blue menu - I recommend the lemon meringue cupcake! Entrance to Alchemy Bar aft. This space wasn't used much. There were more chairs at night but that's about it...at least that I observed. It often turned into a waiting area for Limelight Lounge. Spacious Alchemy Bar Inspiration Dining Room - aft Stage on Promenade near Drama Bar - this place was hopping at night! Drama Bar - beside casino Casino Casino Looking down into atrium This is the closest I got to the spa! LOL Atrium - Lido Deck Serenity - I'll show you more of this area later! Mikado Lounge/Theatre - I didn't get this picture on embarkation day because it was in use as a muster station. This was taken the next day. Romeo and Juliet Bar Elation does not have a movie screen on the Lido deck like most of the other ships. They DO show movies daily in the Limelight Lounge. I had seen the list of movies for May that was released by John Heald and there were several that looked promising however, I would learn that Elation only had two movies during the entire cruise, Wonka and Aquaman, and they replayed those same two over and over all week. Go figure. I wasn’t interested in either of those, so I didn’t attend any movies during this cruise. (I'll show you some pictures of Limelight Lounge a little later.) By this time, our room was ready. We always choose a room on a deck sandwiched between two “residential” decks. For the first time, I decided I wanted to try a porthole room. We were all the way forward on Deck 6 in room U7. This would prove to be an interesting choice later in the cruise. At first glance, I really like the little windows and the big shelf. On our way to our room. We lived so far forward the hallways were pretty empty in our area. Home sweet home If you have a big shelf in your room, you have to try it out! Our room steward, Gede, stopped by and introduced himself. He was very nice, a little on the quite side, but did a great job for the entire cruise. There were no small cups for brushing teeth in the bathroom. When he asked if we needed anything we asked him for those small cups. He looked totally confused by that request. More about that later! Our luggage hadn’t arrived yet so after relaxing for a bit and dropping off my backpack, we opted to head up to the Sun Deck and wait for Sail Away. Sail Away was at 3:30, which is a little earlier than most sail aways. I enjoy the sail away party, but I also like being near the front of the ship as we sail out of port. I sometimes have trouble deciding which one I want to do. I opted for the front this time, after all, there is a bridge involved in this sail away. Waiting for Sail Away Waiting to cast our lines Harbor pilot is in place and waiting, too. That's it for the moment as I have to do some laundry, but I will be back later today!
  21. Drama over, we showed our passports and immediately boarded the ship. A long and winding gangway... ......that reaches really high for a Deck 7 entrance point. Almost on board First step on Elation As I mentioned, Elation is the smallest, oldest ship in the Carnival fleet. She was built in 1996 and is one of only two Fantasy class ships still in operation. I had previously sailed on Sensation, Ecstasy and Fascination but this was our first time sailing a Fantasy class since 2019. Elation was in dry dock in 2023 and she is in absolutely pristine condition. You can tell she has been very well maintained. Her paint is still crisp and new looking. She may be old but she’s still beautiful. After completing our muster drill, which we always do immediately upon boarding, we started our “tour”. We started at the top and worked our way down. The very top deck was the Sun Deck. While there was a stack of loungers tied together, there were only a few actually out on the deck. As far as I can tell it is basically a large, windy, unused space. During the entirety of the cruise, we would never see many people in that area. The next deck down had the mini-golf course. Below that were several loungers, ping pong tables and other seating areas. That deck surrounded Lido. On this ship, Lido is deck 10. Mini golf is right beside shuffleboard Does anyone actually play shuffleboard? I don't think I've ever seen it used. I certainly don't know how to play! Covered areas on either side of the deck surrounding Lido (Verenda Deck). The covered area opposite this one was a smoking area. Water Works Love that Whale Tail Funnel! Entrance to the slides Since it was about 12:30 by this time, we decided to go ahead and eat lunch while we were there. It was still a little cool outside I like the peacocks! Buffet Dining area Sneaky little aft deck on each side of Lido I liked the peacocks all lit up at night Elation doesn’t have as many dining options as the larger ships. There is a Guy’s Burger, Blue Iguana, deli and Pizza Pirate. I usually like a Guy’s burger on embarkation day but since I’d had a burger the day before I decided I wanted pizza. I went back to Pizza Pirate, which is at the rear of the Lido deck and it was closed. Wait…what??? How can the pizza place be closed on embarkation day at 12:30? The sign said it was open at 11 but that was definitely not the case. Huh?!? Very strange. There was a huge line at the deli, so I got a salad and a few items off the buffet instead. They DID have the Funfetti cheesecake. Sign me up! I think I'm going to stop here for the evening. I'll be back tomorrow to add some more!
  22. Embarkation Day – April 29th Here are the FunTimes for Embarkation Day You know how it was always hard to go to sleep but not hard to wake up for the first day of school? The night before a cruise is typically like that for me. I have the worst time going to sleep. I usually go to sleep but wake up multiple times through the night and check the time. Is it time yet?? Finally, morning dawned, and it was time to get up and get started. We got ready and headed down to the hotel breakfast room. They had a hot breakfast, and it was quite nice. We’re usually not big breakfast eaters so this worked perfectly for us. After breakfast we ticked off those last-minute items, gathered our suitcases and headed on to the final leg of our journey. We were about an hour north of JAXPORT and the end of the journey was in sight. We found a radio station playing 70’s and 80’s music. It was called “Classic Radio SSI” (Social Security Insurance is for retirees…of which we aspire to be some day) which we thought was really funny. It was going to be a good day! My final road sign! The port is somewhat on the north side of Jacksonville. We didn’t actually go into Jacksonville proper. The turns to the port were well marked and we had no trouble finding the way to the parking area. We crossed a bridge, and I got my first glimpse of Carnival Elation. I’m sure I was bouncing in my seat like a little girl. She may be small, but she looks massive and beautiful to me! The drive was well marked. Jaxport makes it pretty easy to find them! Almost there! Look! I see a whale tail in the distance! There she is! Ron got in line, and we were directed into the parking lot pretty quickly. I had already reserved our parking so basically, we pulled up, showed our paperwork, and were immediately waved through. There were no specific parking places. The parking lot was immediately beside the ship, and you just parked wherever you wanted. We parked, grabbed our luggage and headed to the terminal building. We were right on time for our 11am boarding slot. The porters met us at the beginning of the line and we each checked one suitcase. The line moved quickly and before long we were inside the terminal. I still had my backpack. As we snaked through the line there was one section where the dog was sniffing everyone’s bags. There was a yellow line painted on the floor. You stepped up, placed any belongings on the yellow line and stepped back. The dog then made a pass down the line and back up the same line. I never saw him alert at any point. My backpack sailed through this canine scrutiny with no problem. That group of people would then move on to the metal detector and a new group would step into place at the yellow line. It seemed very efficient and didn’t take long at all. We joined the line The line inside the terminal building We were successfully sniffed by the dog. He was working and we couldn't pet him. 😞 After getting the “all clear” from the dog we got in line for the scanning and walked through the metal detector. This is where it “got interesting” for me. I have no idea why but for some reason, I always seem to be the one who gets caught in all the random searches and stopped for weird reasons. I have been in several random searches and once at the airport in Concord, NC, they even patted me down, wiped my hands, went through my bags, even went through all of my prescriptions in the bag because they detected traces of fertilizer. To this day I have no idea why and I don’t know where I got into anything like fertilizer, but the moral of the story is if it is going to happen to anyone, it will happen to me. I had been through a few screenings since that airport debacle (it’s in my “Sunrise Story” if you’re interested) with no problems and I had decided I had put those things behind me. I always try to dress carefully when I know I have to go through a screening. I thought I was beyond all of this but noooo……as I stepped through the metal detector, bells started ringing. I went through a second time. Same result. I took off my shoes and showed the gate attendant the buttons on my shorts. None of these things caused the problem. He asked me about my clothes. Nothing, I mean NOTHING, should have triggered that alarm! I was holding up the line, so he finally sent me to the side to be patted down. At this point, I don’t care and it’s kind of funny. Ron was cracking up and took a picture to send to our cruise friends and, of course, everyone thought it was pretty hysterical. Lots of comments, especially from Liz, were flying around on our Messenger group chat. The port officials couldn’t find any problems during the pat down and couldn’t discover what was setting off the alarm. They finally decided to let me board anyway. Later that night, after I changed, I had Ron go through the clothes I had been wearing to see if he could figure out what had triggered the alarm. We were both completely flummoxed. We can’t find any reason for that alarm to sound. The only thing I could come up with was that I have a dental implant which had a good size screw that went into the bone. I have had that for years and, to my knowledge, it has never set off anything before. It certainly isn’t as large as a belt buckle and doesn’t SEEM like it should be a problem. I honestly don’t know what caused it! So I'm going to have to leave you right here for a little while but I'll be back later to put up the next segment. Thanks for reading along!
  23. Thanks so much for joining me for the story and congrats on the retirement! I aspire to be able to retire at some point. I hope I can do some extra cruising during my retirement for sure!
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